This Week, Houston Ballet Brings Back The Ballet That Started It All, GISELLE

This week, Houston Ballet nods to its beginning as it opens its 2019-2020 season with Giselle. In 1967, Giselle was the first full-length ballet performed by Houston Ballet Foundation, and Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch AM is fittingly bringing it back to kick off the 50th anniversary season.

"I really wanted to honor what brought ballet to Houston and what inspired this city to build a professional ballet Company," says Welch.

The Foundation served as a school at the time of its first performance of Marius Petipa's Giselle. Its students, other ballet students and hired professionals from another ballet company comprised the cast and danced with a rented set at Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts. Houston's response to this production would lay the foundation for Houston Ballet's professional company and its ongoing legacy.

Coming a long way since those humble beginnings, Welch's version of this iconic ballet has 61 company dancers vying for coveted roles in a production that cost more than $1 million to build. It first premiered and was last seen at the Wortham Theater Center in June 2016. His signature for projecting a strong female voice echoes through the ballet, as its leading lady's journey spans love, betrayal and redemption.

The two-act ballet is filled with stunning creations by Italian designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno. In addition to these costumes and sets, her designs were seen in last season's The Merry Widow and will return later this season in Romeo & Juliet.

The score by Adolphe Adam stands the test of time as Welch returned to the 1941 version, which is less edited and commonly known. These additions allowed him to expand on his narrative and gave dancers more time to sink into and exude these deep emotional roles. Just as in 2016, the music will be brought to life by the Houston Ballet Orchestra, conducted by Ermanno Florio.

Join in on Houston Ballet's celebration of 50 years of creativity and the beginning of the 2019-2020 season with Welch's Giselle. Learn more and secure your seats at HoustonBallet.org or by calling 713.227.ARTS(2787).



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